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Posts Tagged ‘ Green Technology ’

Japan Automakers Focus on Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles & Collision Warning

Posted: Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 @ 7:35 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | No Comments »
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Posted in: Authors, Automotive, Companies We Follow, Green Technology, Honda, IP News, Articles, Nissan, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Toyota

We recently took a look at the Big Three in American auto manufacturing. Today, we’re increasing our coverage of innovation in vehicles by taking a look at the recent inventions from a trio of major automobile manufacturers based in Japan: Nissan Motor Company Ltd. of Yokohama, Honda Motor Co. of Tokyo, and the Toyota Motor Corporation of Toyota City. Although the Japanese automobile industry includes a number of well-known players like Mazda and Mitsubishi, these three companies are the major players in this region. This has been a difficult year for auto manufacturers in terms of vehicle recalls, and recently reported air bag defects have instigated recalls from all three of today’s profiled carmakers. As we’ll see more below, fuel cell vehicles have been a development area of focus for these companies and Toyota is getting set to release its first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Japan this December, three months ahead of schedule.

The patent applications most recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to these companies show that development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles are prominent among all three. Some of these patent applications describe novel applications of known energy generation and storage technologies, including air batteries and solar cells, to automobile environments. Self-driving cars manufactured by Toyota will benefit from a technology designed to improve the accuracy of determining a car’s actual location on the road.

These three corporations each have strong patent portfolios which have increased in recent weeks and we took special notice of a couple of patents issued in the field of fuel cell technologies. Honda has earned the right to protect an indoor vehicle that drives in response to the tilting motion of a seated rider. We also feature two patents directed towards safety systems which are designed to provide warnings to drivers in response to potential road hazards.

Department of Energy Pumps Money into Offshore Wind Energy

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 @ 11:30 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 11 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Energy, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

From U.S. Patent No. 8,729,723, entitled “Removable Offshore Wind Turbines with Pre-Installed Mooring System.”

Alternative forms of energy which can create electricity in much cleaner processes than fossil fuels have been an area of intense development in recent years. Here at IPWatchdog, we’ve covered recent developments in solar and hydrogen energy generation technologies in the past, and alternative energy is a frequent topic, particularly during our Earth Day coverage each year. We dive into this topic given that reports from the U.S. Department of Energy have led to a lot of optimism in recent days about the future of wind energy, specifically wind energy collected from offshore sources.

A developed network of offshore wind turbines could power the entire United States of America. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there is a potential 4,150 gigawatts of energy which can be collected from offshore wind collection around the country’s waters. The total electric generating capacity of the entire nation was 1,010 gigawatts as of 2008. All of this energy can be collected from waters within 50 nautical miles of America’s shorelines.

There are many obstacles in the way of increasing the scale of these technologies. Currently, offshore wind projects in America have capital costs of about $6,000 per kilowatt during installation, compared with about $1,940 per installed kilowatt for land-based wind projects. This is according to the recent Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis report released by the U.S. DoE, mentioned above.

GE Patents: Patents of Note: Medical Inventions & Alternative Energy Systems

Posted: Friday, Aug 1, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Authors, Companies We Follow, Energy, General Electric, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Headquartered in Schenectady, NY, the multinational conglomerate General Electric is a corporation which is heavily involved in research and development in many industry sectors, including capital finance, energy, technology infrastructure and consumer appliances. Interestingly, reports indicate that GE is trying to sell its consumer home appliance businesses, marking a major shift in the corporations focus towards industrial operations. General Electric’s activities in fuel cell technology development may be shifting the market if a pilot manufacturing plant is successful. GE, which already owns 60 percent of the U.S. locomotive market, may pull further ahead of Caterpillar and other companies in the industry by designing trains with pollution-reduction systems within the engine, meant to meet rigorous exhaust systems established by the U.S. government.

IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series checks in with General Electric every few months to see what recent patent activities have been supported by this company’s research and development. Our recent perusal of the dozens of patent applications and issued patents filed at the halls of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and assigned to GE showed us an incredible swath of innovation in fields from medical care to electrical energy generation. Below, we’re sharing some of the inventions which we felt were most interesting with our readers.

Our exploration of General Electric’s recently published patent applications confirms the idea that this corporation is increasing its development in the field of locomotives. We feature a couple of patent applications in this field, including one that would protect a system for detecting the order of rail cars for cooperative braking and tractive operations. We also sharing some patent applications related to consumer appliances, such as one directed at a new design for a dishwasher filter media that can collect a wider range of particulate without clogging.

For a Greener Footprint: Innovating to Capture Carbon Dioxide

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Authors, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

It is widely known that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are capable of trapping heat from various sources in the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to global warming trends. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant of these gases; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2012, carbon dioxide accounted for 82 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. More than 50 percent of these carbon emissions come from industrial and automotive sources.

Because of the progress of climate change in our modern world, many experts have called for research into methods of capturing and storing carbon to keep it out of the atmosphere as one of the world’s best chances for fighting climate change. In late April, the European Union awarded 300 million euros to fund a carbon capture project in England which will siphon CO2 from a nearby coal power plant and store it in the ground.

Although carbon capture technologies exist, the scale of carbon dioxide that needs to be drawn from the atmosphere to combat the effects of climate change is very discouraging. We seem to be many years, if not decades, away from any realistically deployable solution. Nevertheless, we wanted to wrap up our coverage of Earth Day 2014 at IPWatchdog, albeit a little bit late, with a look at developments in this very important technological field. To do this we profile recently published patent applications found in our search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, focusing on carbon capture and mitigation technologies.

Innovation Focus: Water Treatment & Desalination

Posted: Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Authors, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

One-fifth of the world’s population live in areas of the globe where water is scarce as a naturally occurring resources. One-quarter of the world’s population, about 1.6 billion people, live in regions where the local economy cannot support the infrastructure needed to draw water into municipal systems. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) reports that enough freshwater exists on Earth to support seven billion people, but issues with uneven distribution, pollution and poor management greatly hinder this.

Like most other natural resources, there is a finite amount of water in our world. Few resources are required more than water, which is used at every level of society and industry. Not only do humans need to consume water daily to survive, hundreds of thousands of gallons may be used in thermal cooling or oil extraction processes. In the United States, 41 percent of all water withdrawals are used to irrigate crops.

In IPWatchdog’s continuing coverage of Earth Day 2014, we decided to take some time to look at inventions that may help address water shortage issues across the globe. In many areas of the world, disputes over access to available water are leading to great tension among a growing global population that relies on the substance. Today, we wanted to scour the recent published patent applications and issued patents coming out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for technologies in this field.

University Research Leads to Biofuel Breakthrough

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 @ 5:51 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 2 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Universities

In discussions about our ability as human beings to build a sustainable future for ourselves, our reliance on deriving energy from fossil fuels is of major concern. Not only do these forms of fuel cause considerable pollution when combusted by vehicles, the carbon-based sources of these fuels are finite and quickly depleting. Although new technologies, like hydrofracking, have enabled us to find new sources of petroleum fuels, these methods come with their own negative environmental impacts.

In our further coverage of green and sustainable technologies for Earth Day 2014, we here at IPWatchdog wanted to take a closer look at innovations that could help us address many of the concerns of using fossil fuels for years into the future. Biofuel production has increased in recent years, but for many reasons production has fallen short of public policy goals. However, as we profile below, exciting new innovations being patented and licensed by American universities may provide some effective answers to issues that have been vexing biofuel developers for years.

Earth Day 2014: A Salute to Recycling Innovations

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014 @ 1:27 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Authors, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Today is Earth Day 2014, and with that in mind we will be taking some time today and throughout the week to take some time to look at the progress of sustainable, environmentally friendly technologies in America and abroad.

Our Earth Day 2013 coverage focused on recycling systems, solar energy generators and other green inventions from Universities. One particularly intriguing set of environmentally friendly inventions related to various hybrid electric vehicle innovations developed by Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. This year, we wanted to start our analysis of green technologies by focusing on patent applications and issued patents describing inventions related to recycling. As the Bureau of International Recycling reports, 1.6 million people across the globe are employed by an industry that recycles more than 600 million tons of material, an industry that creates a global economic impact of $200 billion.

We’ve searched the recently published patent applications and issued patents coming out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find the most unique innovations in the realm of recycling technologies. As you can see below, recycling technologies and innovation come in many different forms. While recycling in and of itself is no doubt environmentally friendly, so too are technologies that enable reusing items, relate to biodegradability and recycling items not previously viewed as recyclable.

Qualcomm Seeks Patent on Managing Carbon Emission Credits

Posted: Sunday, Apr 6, 2014 @ 10:00 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Authors, Companies We Follow, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Qualcomm, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

Few corporations enjoys a better share of the global semiconductor market than Qualcomm Incorporated of San Diego, CA. Perennially near the top of semiconductor manufacturing company, when ranked by annual sales, the technology manufacturer has been getting a great boost by the success of its Snapdragon 801 processor and other components used in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 device. Discounts on faster smartphones in China could greatly increase the presence of Qualcomm’s semiconductor technologies in that country. Qualcomm is also busy developing processors for appliances involved in the growing “Internet of Things,” a concept we’ve discussed previously here on IPWatchdog.

A few months have gone by since our last check, so it’s the perfect time to return to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Database to see what inventions have been assigned to Qualcomm in recent weeks. We’ve noticed patent applications and issued patents galore that chart an intriguing path of technological innovation that may turn into services which are widespread through electronic devices. Here at IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’ve analyzed what makes these inventions revolutionary and share our favorites with our readers.

Fuel efficiency and carbon reduction from vehicle use are the main thrust of our featured patent application today. This patent application describes a system by which a fuel transaction can be uploaded to a carbon credit management system for applying rewards to vehicle owners. Electronic device owners who are walking around in urban centers may find better mapping applications because of two other recently published Qualcomm applications.

FTC Cracks Down on Misleading Environmental Marketing Claims

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 @ 12:59 pm | Written by Federal Trade Commission | Comments Off
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Posted in: Advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Green Technology, IP News, Articles

The Federal Trade Commission today announced six enforcement actions, including one that imposes a $450,000 civil penalty and five that for the first time address biodegradable plastic claims, as part of the agency’s ongoing crackdown on false and misleading environmental claims.

The plastic cases include a complaint against a company that markets an additive it claims makes plastic products biodegradable and four complaints and proposed consent orders against companies that marketed various plastics with allegedly false and unsupported claims that their products were biodegradable.  In the civil penalty case, the FTC filed a complaint and consent order against a company for violating a 1994 FTC order that prohibited it from making unsupported green claims for its paper plates and bags.

All of these cases are part of the FTC’s program to ensure compliance with the agency’s recently revised Green Guides.  The Commission publishes the Guides to help businesses market their products accurately, providing guidance as to what constitutes deceptive and non-deceptive environmental claims.

University Patents: Focus on the University of California System

Posted: Thursday, Sep 12, 2013 @ 7:45 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Authors, Companies We Follow, Energy, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Universities, University of California

The University of California, a system of 10 campuses with a combined student body of more than 200,000 people, and is the public university system for the most populous state in America. Today, we’re looking at various issued patents and patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect some of the exciting research underway in the Golden State.

A number of applications and issued patents we cover today deal with human sensory or biomedical developments. One patent application describes a system of using porous film to delivery medication to the eye. A recently issued patent protects a system of detecting heart arrhythmias without invasive ablation procedures. Another patent application would protect a method for sampling aromatic compounds to determine their chemical composition and a person’s olfactory response to segments of the aromatic compound.

Other inventions we feature here deal with improvements to energy collection or audio systems. One last patent application discusses a solar collector that is low in price while providing sun tracking capabilities. Finally, one issued patent protects a realistic sound generation system capable of reproducing sounds as if they were coming from another room.

GE Wind Patents Focus on Blade Design, Protecting Birds

Posted: Saturday, Apr 27, 2013 @ 5:57 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Authors, Companies We Follow, General Electric, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

In this last column in our Earth Day 2013 series, IPWatchdog wants to take a look at some of the research and development coming out of one of the industry leaders in wind energy technology, General Electric Company of Schenectady, NY.

GE Wind Energy is a branch of General Electric Company that is involved with the development and manufacture of wind energy turbines. As of 2009, General Electric was the world’s 2nd largest wind turbine supplier, according to Reuters. Wind energy has gained a lot of attention in the alternative energy world because it is renewable and can create electricity without fossil fuel emissions.

These patents and patent applications, published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, outline General Electric’s goals to increase efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs for its wind energy systems. Recently published patent applications include documents filed to protect a more efficiently designed turbine blade and an electronic sensor that can determine if corrosive forces have damaged a turbine blade. Another application is for a light reflective substance that can help warn birds away from turbine blades, which may at first seem insignificant but a major obstacle in the adoption of wind energy are complaints from environmentalists relating to the number of birds killed each year.

The Energy and Environmental Innovation Conundrum: Can the Patent System Protect New Ways of Using Old Technologies?

Posted: Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 @ 8:00 am | Written by Charles P. Lickson | 3 comments
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Posted in: Authors, Energy, Green Technology, IP News, Articles, Patents, Technology & Innovation

EDITORIAL NOTE: Continuing our Earth Day 2013 series, Charles Lickson asks whether patent protection is enough of an incentive for exploring clean, green solutions that may not be protectable, but which could offer important benefits for the environment and a sustainable energy future.

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It is certainly understandable why time and field of application limits must be placed on patent grants to allow inventors and organizations other than the patentee to enter certain fields after the exclusivity period expires. To do otherwise would actually inhibit the value of an invention because there would only ever be one supplier.  Our patent system, of which I am a firm believer, gives a period of exclusive opportunity to the inventor – something essential to moving an invention into the real world of commerce and societal benefit.  The field of clean or green technology is one of those areas where innovation is desperately needed if our planet Earth is to survive as a place where all living things can thrive.

Several important questions arise from this kind of situation:

What if a “new” and needed technology is not really new, but rather a new way of doing something which builds on a known (and patented technology where the exclusive protection period has expired)?

And, what if the “new” technology cannot find its way to market (i.e. real-world application) unless there is funding?